A hidden treasure
I had never heard of Saint Josephine Margaret Bakhita Patron Saint of Sudan until a few days and I became acquainted with her in a most unusual manner. Several local libraries where I live have see-through cases outside with books they are giving away. I took my grandchildren to a particular branch and decided to see what treasures were being given away. and in the midst of paperback romance novels, and children's books I found a hardback copy of Stories of the Saints. It had a price of $24,99 on the back and was published in 2020. The book still looked new and what it did not have was the stamp identifying it as the property of the local city library. Based on the title, I wondered if someone who attended the Catholic Church just up the hill had dropped it in the container. I also pondered that it could have come from the retirement center run by the Catholic Church adjacent to the library. Its true that one man's trash is another man's treasure.Someone discarded this gem and I found it.
Stories of the Saints contains information about 70 saints who have been canonized/ This indicates the Roman Catholic Church has officially declared a deceased person to be a saint. As I flipped through the pages of the book they twice fell open to the picture of a black woman. I took this as a sign that I was to read her story and I was intrigued as I did not know there were black saints. I certainly was unaware there was a woman of color among their ranks. I could have put the book down because I am not Catholic but I’ve learned that it is vital to glean from the lives of all who have been honored for serving Jesus. An African female saint seemed to me an enigma and although Saint Josephine cannot be honored in February for American Black History month t believers in Christ can acknowledge her for the honor she received. For those who may be unaware the word saints technically refers to all who have accepted Jesus as the Christ and His free gift of eternal life. In Catholicism, the Pope can officially canonize individuals as saints for their service and or martyrdom for Christ. The following is Josephine‘s story. She was born in 1869 in Sudan Africa in the village of Olgosda. Her family was powerful and she had 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Josephine was kidnapped at age 8 by Arab slave traders, who also had abducted her older sister two years earlier.
A long and windng path
According to Wikipedia Josephine was forced to walk barefoot for over 600 miles and was sold over a dozen times and often forgot her own name. She was beaten frequently and her skin was cut leaving scars. She later ended up in Italy where her mistress left her with the Canossian sisters An order of nuns) while she traveled In her autobiographyJosephine said she had always felt God’s presence but did not learn about Jesus until these sisters introduced her to Him. When her mistress returned Josephine refused to leave with her. The sisters went to court where it was ruled that slavery was no longer legal in Italy so Josephine was free. She joined the Canassians in their work with the poor and for the rest of her life, she was dedicated to the church. She cooked, greeted guests at the door of the Abbey, made beautiful embroideries for the church, and prayed for the people of Sudan and Africa daily. Saint Josephine was the first black female to receive sainthood and was Beatified: on May 17, 1992, by Pope John Paul II. This indicates the Catholic Church has proclaimed an individual to definitely be in Heaven, able to plead to God on your behalf if you pray to him. As Josephine aged she needed to use a wheelchair but she continued smiling and serving. She passed away on February 8, 1947. You might say that your own service to the Lord or that of someone you know is far greater than Josephine's and perhaps it's true. Don't worry because if no one recognizes you here remember you have a reward in heaven.
Stories of the saints by Carey Wallace
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Cheryl E Preston